Czech aid to China
The Czech Republic will be dispatching aid to China in the wake of a devastating earthquake that hit its Southwestern provinces. Beijing rejected a Czech offer of emergency crews with sniffer-dogs, saying that financial aid would be more appropriate at this stage, due to the lack of funds for medicines and emergency supplies. The Czech Foreign Ministry says it is consulting various forms of assistance with the Chinese authorities. Monday’s earthquake in the Sichuan province is believed to have killed over 10,000 people, leaving many more homeless.
Environment minister wants to slash greenhouse gas emissions
Environment Minister Martin Bursík says the Czech Republic can halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. At a press conference in Prague on Tuesday Mr. Bursík presented the results of an in-depth analysis according to which this would be possible at moderate cost. The reduction could be reached by replacing coal with gas, a wider use of biogases and the introduction of energy-saving measures in companies and households. If consistently implemented such a policy would cut carbon dioxide emissions from 114 million tons in 2006 to 46 million tons in 2020. The minister said he was planning to draft a new long-term policy plan outlining specific reduction projects.
Český Krumlov chateau wins heritage conservation prize
Český Krumlov chateau has won a 10,000 euro award for cultural heritage protection from the EC and the Europa Nostra Foundation. The chateau, a valuable historical compound comprising buildings from various periods, won the prize in the heritage-conservation category for the restoration of the southern wing of the chateau. The jury praised the restorers for using traditional materials and methods, thanks to which the chateau has retained its authenticity.
Czech goes on hunger strike in protest of US radar base
An activist of the Czech civic group No to Bases has gone on a hunger strike in protest against US plans to install a missile defense radar on Czech territory. Jan Tamáš said he was taking radical action because the Czech government was completely ignoring growing public opposition to the radar. He expects others to join his hunger strike and draw more attention to the problem. His hunger strike will be documented on the No to Bases website.
The Czech and US governments are winding up negotiations on the radar and the resulting bilateral agreements are expected to be signed in June of this year. However the missile defense project would still need to be approved by Parliament.
Significant drop in the amount of prescribed medicines
There has been a significant drop in the amount of prescribed medicines in the first quarter of the year, following the introduction of the government’s health care reforms on January 1, the CTK news agency reports. Simultaneously, sales of over-the-counter medicines have gone up, suggesting that patients are no longer seeing their GPs with minor complaints and that health insurers are spending more money on cost-intensive medical treatment of serious illnesses. The Health Ministry says this is precisely what it was aiming to achieve.
Forty teenagers escape unharmed in bus accident
A bus carrying forty teenagers to a football match near the West Bohemian town of Plzeň overturned into a ditch on Tuesday morning after swerving to avoid an oncoming truck. Although the passengers were trapped in the bus until the arrival of emergency crews none of them were injured. The cause of the accident is being investigated.
Former policeman found guilty of producing child porn
A Prague court has sent a former police officer to 18 months in prison for producing child porn. The former policeman had photographed his live-in girlfriend’s five-year-old daughter in pornographic positions and stored the photos in his computer. The man pleaded not-guilty, saying he had never made the photos and had been framed by his former girlfriend as a revenge for his adultery. The former officer has been banned from working with children for a period of ten years.
Ex-president Havel to travel to Israel for anniversary festivities
Former Czech president Václav Havel will travel to Israel this week to take part in festivities marking the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Jewish state. Israel celebrated the anniversary on May 8 in line with the Hebrew calendar but further events are planned, including an international conference where political leaders and prominent thinkers will discuss the future of Israel in a global context.
Growing number of children placed in orphanages
Statistics published on Tuesday indicate that the number of children who are placed in orphanages and children’s homes is on the rise, as well as the number of orphanages themselves. In the past 15 years the state has had to establish over sixty new orphanages and children’ homes to accommodate the growing need. Today there are 20,000 children in institutionalized care in the Czech Republic.
We can look forward to an exceptionally warm week with sunny, dry weather and day temperatures reaching 24 degrees Celsius.